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Fran Beltrán, San Cristóbal and Vallekas (20th April, 2017)

Fran Beltrán renewed his contract!

The former Getafe youth academy player signed an extension until 2020, making him a professionally paid player. Any club that wants him will now have to pay his release clause of eight million euros.

Is he still a bargain? Yes. Absolutely.


On a small football field in Madrid, Alfredo Di Stefano stepped on for a veterans match. He was retiring, and this was his sendoff. 

Used to large crowds and noisy football stadiums, he probably was thinking - where am I? 

Spain's districts are divided into neighborhoods, or barrios. South west to Puente de Vallecas is the working class district of Villaverde, where a small barrio of about 18,000 inhabitants resides. It has historically been isolated, from the north and east by the railroad, to the south by the old Army Car Park and to the west by the old highway to Andalusia (A-4).

40% of the population is made up of immigrants - in the 1960s, immigrants from Extremadura, Andalucía, Murcia and Castilla La Mancha came in hoards, looking for a way to escape the poverty of their towns.

On Rocafort street, a small football field is home to CD San Cristóbal de los Angeles - one of the most prestigious youth academies in Madrid. For just a taste, here are just a few of the players who've come from San Cristóbal.
  1. Raúl González Blanco (Real Madrid)
  2. Carlos Aguilera Martín (Atlético de Madrid)
  3. Julián Romero Nieto (Atlético de Madrid)
  4. Antonio Amaya Carazo (Real Betis, Rayo)
  5. Javier Monsálvez Carazo, aka "Yuma" (Rayo, U.D. Salamanca)
  6. Iván Amaya Carazo (Real Murcia C.F., Rayo)
  7. Rida Arkine (C.D. Leganés)
Exactly.



You'll notice that many Rayo players who are considered true Rayistas, such as Antonio Amaya and Yuma, are actually not from Vallecas.

That's not by accident - many of Rayo's youth graduates are scouted from other clubs, especially in Madrid, and not actually from Vallecas.

So when a player from Vallekas comes along and debuts for the first team, they are immortalized in the hearts of Rayo fans.

Here's a list of players who were born in Vallekas - some might actually surprise you!

  1. Álvaro Negredo (1985).
  2. Fernando Marqués (1984)
  3. Jesús Diego Cota (1967)
  4. Jorge Resurrection Merodio, Koke (1992)
  5. Jose Antonio Callejo Couto, Fanti (1966).
Álvaro Negredo spent the 2004-05 season at Rayo before joining Real Madrid at the age of just 20 and was nicknamed La fiera de Vallecas (The beast of Vallecas), Fernando Marqués joined Racing Santander in 2004 at the ago of 19 and went on to play in Greece and Italy, Jesús Diego Cota played for Rayo - and only Rayo - for 15 seasons before retiring, and Fanti played for Rayo until the age of 24 before playing for Pontevedra and Compostela.

Koke? He was the one who got away - Atlético signed him when he was just eight.

It must be added that two faces should have been added to the list - Joni Montiel, from El Pozo del Tío Raimundo in Puente de Vallecas, and Raúl Uche, from Casco Histórico de Villa de Vallecas.

But Uche signed for Leicester City without making a first team debut, and Joni Montiel isn't getting any game time at Rayo but is excelling as usual at Rayo B.

Hopefully when they become regulars I'll get to make an edit to this list.

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